Recently, I’ve been somewhat fixated on the concept of methodologies. I wrote Which Sales Methodology and The Next-Gen Sales Methodology. The first article focused on current sales methodologies, I referred to an article discussing 21 Sales Methodologies. In the second, I suggested a Project Management/Problem Solving approach to the next gen sales methodology.
I wanted to test some of my thinking about both the current and future methodologies. In doing this, I developed the following premise:
“For a selling methodology to be effective, there has to be a buying analogue/counterpart to the methodology”
Stated differently, if we are going to align ourselves with the customer buying process, our methodology must align with and complement the buyer’s methodology. Absent this, we will work at cross purposes with what the customer is trying to achieve, consequently less effective and impactful in working with the customer.
The easiest way to test this is to take our major selling methodologies and look for the buying equivalent of the methodology.
For example, is there a “Major Account Planning Buying Methodology?” Or is there a “MEDDIC Buying Methodology,” or a Sandler, Challenger, SNAP, SPIN, CHAMP buying methodology?
Buyers don’t think in those terms. They are foreign to them, they are artifices created by sales people to communicate with each other, but not necessarily impactful to the engaging the customer and how they buy. In fact, they stand in the way of effectively engaging the customer because they focus on our effectiveness, efficiency, and goals. They tend focus on what we do to the customer, not how we work with the customer.
Buyers tend to think in different ways, if anything they organize their buying approaches around problem solving and projects. They spend time understanding and defining the problem they want to address, and developing a plan of how they are going to address it.
It would stand to reason, if we really want to connect with our customers, our methodology would tend to mirror or complement their methodology and approaches.
This isn’t to say there aren’t useful tools and approaches within the various methodologies that are helpful in project management/problem solving. For example, the SPIN questioning technique is a very powerful tool for customers to incorporate into their own problem identification methodologies. Or the concepts of Challenger/Insights to look at their own businesses differently. Likewise the concepts of GAP buying can be very powerful to think of current and future states.
But to maximize our own effectiveness and impact in engaging customers our selling methodology must mirror the customer buying methodology.
So perhaps it’s time to look at a selling methodology that focuses on project management/problem solving if that is the methodology our customers use to buy.